Questions about setting up vivarium lighting & heating

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Questions about setting up vivarium lighting & heating

Postby Ziranos » Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:25 pm

Hi! I'm in the process of getting my first reptile, a bearded dragon. I got my hands on a large second-hand vivarium for a really cheap price, 150x60x80 centimeters (roughly 59x23x31 inches). With the enclosure I also got a light fixture with two lights.

1. Here's a picture of the lights I got, seller said that one is UV and one is heat. I'm not planning on using the heat light, but I was wondering if the "UV" light is usable - from Googling it just seems like a normal, cheap fluorescent tube without any UVB output. I'm guessing trash both tubes and buy a ReptiSun or Arcadia like recommended, but confirmation would be nice. Both lights were unused, but bought 1 or 2 years ago. Also, how do I tell if the fixture has a reflector or not?
2. Are the light fixture and tubes long enough for the enclosure? The tubes are about 57 cm long (22 inches), so a little over 1/3 of the enclosure. Should I just get a new fixture?
3. The enclosure is all glass, with a metal wire net section in the middle. Can I place the basking lamp on the top, against the glass/wire?
4. Does the basking light need to be regularly replaced like the UV does?

5. Lastly I'm wondering about which calcium and multivitamin supplement to get. Is Zoomed an okay brand? Most places I've read don't specify a type of multivitamin, but one site said to avoid one with vitamin A. Should I find an alternative to Zoomed multivitamins for this reason, or is vitamin A something to not worry about?

Thanks in advance, I'm loving seeing all the dragons! Can't wait to welcome one into my life!
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Re: Questions about setting up vivarium lighting & heating

Postby Drache613 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:43 pm

Hello,

Congratulations on getting your first dragon. I am sure you will fall in love with him!
The tank size sounds good, is you can try to get some pictures posted just so we can see you
setup & placement.
The picture of the tube you posted that one is just a regular daytime fluorescent tube bulb, but
not a UVB tube bulb. So, I would definitely recommend either the Reptisun 10 or the Arcadia D3
12% or 14% tubes. You could get the T5 tube which is a much better light & has a higher UVB
output than the T8 counterpart does. You would need to get a new T5 light fixture though. The
basking light doesn't necessarily need to be replaced real often, no. Essentially just when it
burns out or if it starts acting up, etc. You can sit the basking light on top of the mesh/metal
screen, no problem. Do you have a digital probe or a temp gun to accurately measure the temps
in the tank?
The Zoomed brand is pretty good. You can get the powdered calcium without D3 & if you want
to get the formula with D3, you can alternate between both. If you are using a good UVB light
source, you wont need to use D3 real often. As far as vitamins go, probably one of the better
ones on the market is the Herptivite vitamins which have betacarotene added without any of the
synthetic vitamin A. The natural betacarotene is fine, but synthetic vitamin A can become toxic
over time since it's a fat soluble vitamin.

Let us know how things are going.
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Re: Questions about setting up vivarium lighting & heating

Postby Ziranos » Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:44 am

Thanks for the help! I haven't brought home a dragon yet, as we just picked up the enclosure a few days ago, and I need to get it transported home - that will take a few weeks. In the meantime, I'll get a new fixture and tube. I've bought a digital ExoTerra thermometer that I'll place on the warm side, and I'm planning on buying a thermometer & hygrometer combo to place on the cool side, as well as a temp gun to measure the basking spot.

Once I get the enclosure properly set up, I'll post again to see if it's ready for a dragon.
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Re: Questions about setting up vivarium lighting & heating

Postby claudiusx » Fri Sep 06, 2019 6:02 am

Ziranos wrote:
Once I get the enclosure properly set up, I'll post again to see if it's ready for a dragon.

Sounds good! If you have any questions before buying something, let us know! Might save you money :D

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Re: Questions about setting up vivarium lighting & heating

Postby Ziranos » Fri Sep 06, 2019 10:49 am

claudiusx wrote:Sounds good! If you have any questions before buying something, let us know! Might save you money :D


While looking online for bulbs and supplies I actually got a couple questions:

I saw in the Newbies Guide that you can just buy a normal household fixture, seems to be much cheaper than the reptile marketed ones. But I need a reflector too, right? Will taping some foil to the fixture be fine?

Any good alternatives to Herptivite multivitamines? It's not readily available in my country (Norway).


Also, looking around in my area, I have a few options for picking a dragon. At first I was adamant about getting a baby, because I really want to be with them and watch them grow to adulthood. But now I'm not so sure, I might opt for an older one. My question is, when is a dragon considered juvenile, and when are they considered and adult? I'm mostly wondering about the points in time where you can cut down on the number of feedings and start feeding more vegetables than insects.
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Re: Questions about setting up vivarium lighting & heating

Postby CooperDragon » Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:09 am

I use a household halogen flood light for basking and it works well. They have reflectors built into the bulbs (usually either PAR (parabolic) or BR (bulge reflector)) With those, you don't need an additional reflector. A dome fixture is helpful if you are using a more traditional incandescent bulb but a lot of it depends on your setup. I don't advise using foil for reflectors (especially with a UVB bulb) as they aren't smooth and polished enough to be very effective.

As far as supplements go, I like Repashy brand a lot. If you can find a plain calcium supplement that is usually enough if given a nice varied diet. Usually between about 12-18 months their growth slows and they start to transition to eating more veges. My adult dragon eats a salad every day (he loves squash) and he will eat occasional worms (hornworms, black soldier fly larvae, silk worms etc) and gets roaches once a week or so (sometimes less often).
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Re: Questions about setting up vivarium lighting & heating

Postby Ziranos » Sat Sep 07, 2019 2:53 pm

CooperDragon wrote:I use a household halogen flood light for basking and it works well. They have reflectors built into the bulbs (usually either PAR (parabolic) or BR (bulge reflector)) With those, you don't need an additional reflector. A dome fixture is helpful if you are using a more traditional incandescent bulb but a lot of it depends on your setup. I don't advise using foil for reflectors (especially with a UVB bulb) as they aren't smooth and polished enough to be very effective.

As far as supplements go, I like Repashy brand a lot. If you can find a plain calcium supplement that is usually enough if given a nice varied diet. Usually between about 12-18 months their growth slows and they start to transition to eating more veges. My adult dragon eats a salad every day (he loves squash) and he will eat occasional worms (hornworms, black soldier fly larvae, silk worms etc) and gets roaches once a week or so (sometimes less often).


I'll check Repashy out! I've seen that brand around :)

I was mainly wondering about how to deal with reflectors with the UVB tube light. I think I'll either get a Reptisun 10 T5 HO or an Arcadia 12% T5. Since my tank is fairly long I'll probably need 54w. Haven't had much luck finding fitting fixtures - I found one kit with the Arcadia tube and fixture, but it's almost 100 dollars. So I want to check out some home stores to see if they have some cheaper fixtures to pair with the bulb. Though in that case, I wouldn't have a reflector.
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Re: Questions about setting up vivarium lighting & heating

Postby claudiusx » Sat Sep 07, 2019 3:18 pm

The sunblaster fixtures on amazon are good fixtures. You can buy them with or without the reflector.

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Re: Questions about setting up vivarium lighting & heating

Postby Ziranos » Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:49 am

It seems like the simplest option for me is to get an Arcadia UVB kit, and I have a few questions before I order.

- My options are either a T5 12%, T5 14%, or a Pro T5 14%. I don't know what the difference between the Pro and the normal versions are - but both fixtures have a reflector. Which one to go for?

- T5 bulbs can be replaced every 12 months, correct?

- I've been told that you can place the T5 on top of the mesh if you adjust the height of the basking spot. But my enclosure looks like this:
[Click image to enlarge]

More of a metal grid/venting, it's not as fine as mesh. Should I rather place the UVB inside?

- Can the basking light be placed on top of the glass, if the wattage is high enough? Or will that just warm up the entire enclosure? It's full glass, but with vents on bottom right side and through the top like shown above.

- Is it correct that the T5 UVB be placed ca. 10-12 inches from the basking spot (unobstruced with a reflector)? Is the distance different from the 12% to the 14%?
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Re: Questions about setting up vivarium lighting & heating

Postby Ziranos » Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:25 am

bump
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Re: Questions about setting up vivarium lighting & heating

Postby kingofnobbys » Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:12 am

Ziranos wrote:It seems like the simplest option for me is to get an Arcadia UVB kit, and I have a few questions before I order.

- My options are either a T5 12%, T5 14%, or a Pro T5 14%. I don't know what the difference between the Pro and the normal versions are - but both fixtures have a reflector. Which one to go for?

- T5 bulbs can be replaced every 12 months, correct?

- I've been told that you can place the T5 on top of the mesh if you adjust the height of the basking spot. But my enclosure looks like this:
[Click image to enlarge]

More of a metal grid/venting, it's not as fine as mesh. Should I rather place the UVB inside?
<<< That mesh (an offcut of "Perforated Aluminium Security mesh") is very obstructive , I can see just by looking it will block at least 50% of the UV if you place the UVB tube and hood ONTOP of it. IMO it's configuration ( open area / total area ) is as bad a flyscreen or shade mesh.

If you have a set of Vernier calipers , and can make some easy measurements , you can easily work out the "shading factor" for your performated sheet , here's how : https://www.perforated-sheet.com/calcul ... -area.html , % shading factor = 100 - % open area.

Appears the sheet is the 60 degree version.


I STRONGLY RECOMMEND mounting the UVB tube and reflector hood under the lid in your situation as the fine mesh and the perforated sheet shown will both BLOCK too much UV.



- Can the basking light be placed on top of the glass, if the wattage is high enough? Or will that just warm up the entire enclosure? It's full glass, but with vents on bottom right side and through the top like shown above.
<<< not wise.
I'd mount it under the existing mesh sheet (it'll handle the rapid changes in temperature better than glass will , likely to cause the glass to "spall" , if the dragon can reach it from the basking spot, you need a light cage like this
Image

- Is it correct that the T5 UVB be placed ca. 10-12 inches from the basking spot (unobstruced with a reflector)? Is the distance different from the 12% to the 14%?

Refer to this :
Image
and this
Image
Aim for 160 to 200 microW UVB / sq.cm or not less than UV-index = 6 at the basking spot.
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Re: Questions about setting up vivarium lighting & heating

Postby Ziranos » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:16 am

Thank you for the graphs!! I think that answers all my questions, I’ll mount both lights on the inside and get my distances right. I’ve started shopping for equipment now, and I’ll post again when my enclosure is all set up to see if it’s ready for a dragon to move in :)
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